Saturday, April 17, 2010

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus


Our speaker will be Dr. Delina Halushka, a member of SDIS and a specialist in the oral traditions of the natives of Bolivia, her country of origin.

Dr. Delina Halushka was born in Sucre, Bolivia. She came to the United States in 1951 under a State Department Fellowship called “The Convention of Buenos Aires Fellowship” which was granted for three years. She studied at Ohio State University and received a Master’s Degree in Education.

In 1952, Bolivia suffered a socialist takeover of government led by Paz Estensoro. He immediately put into effect an agrarian reform that included the expropriation of land and gave it to the indigenous population. In these circumstances, Delina could not return to Bolivia.

She married Roman Halushka and became an American citizen in 1958.

In 1960, Mrs. Halushka entered Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and obtained a second Master’s Degree in Hispanic Literature and Language. She taught at Northeastern University in Chicago and, in 1963, received a Teaching Fellowship at UCLA to continue studies in oral tradition. In 1971, she obtained a Ph.D. in “Language and Literature of the Hispanic Countries.” Her dissertation “The Oral Tradition in Bolivia” was published in 1973.

Dr. Halushka taught at Santa Monica College and Loyola Marymount University. With another colleague, she started Language Communication Institute to train bilingual and special education specialists all over California. The training was in language, culture and methodology. Later, Dr. Halushka was coordinator in Harbor Regional Center dealing with Hispanic families that have children with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Delina Halushka is listed in Who’s Who of American Women (8th Ed.) and in the biographical studies of Feminists Who Changed America, published in 2007.

As background for her talk, Dr. Halushka reports that the Quechua Indians of Bolivia are a very distinctive group of native South American Indians that live in the central part of Bolivia, mainly in the Departments of Cochabamba, Potosi and Chuquisaca. They are descendants of the Inca Empire that was conquered in the 16th Century by the Spaniards. They dwell in the valleys and mostly at the flanks of the Andes. They form part of three native groups of Bolivia, with the Aymaras and the Guaranies. They still keep cultural traits of their ancestors, including the language, dress, weaving, music, mythology, farming and housing.

Note:  Dr. Halushka’s research was facilitated by a Helen Hawkins grant.



The Preuss School

Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently explained why people imagine their local schools to be better than schools in general: "Too many people don’t understand how bad their own schools are." (Kappan, September 2009,  p. 29)  Scott Barton and his colleagues at the Preuss School ( are trying to do something about that... and they are succeeding.  The school differs from most other schools in that it is “dedicated to providing a rigorous college prep education for motivated low-income students who will become the first in their families to graduate from college.” 

In the most recent admissions cycle there were 550 qualified applicants: low income, parents who didn’t go to college, applicants with demonstrated motivation and potential to succeed.  Of the 550 there was only space for 120; a lottery resolved the matter.

This draconian outcome offers an opportunity to test the school's effectiveness, and UCSD researchers have done just that.  Studies comparing students who attend Preuss with those who are turned down and left to the traditional public school system tell a revealing story.  Preuss students have a slightly higher Grade Point Average (GPA) and their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores are roughly the same.  The difference is that students left in the traditional system don’t go to college at anywhere near the same rate.

The school’s mission is difficult. Since the parents have no college experience, they don’t know how to counsel their children or even how to value the experiences that their college-bound children are having.  Mr. Barton told the tale of a youngster,  who called his parents from Dartmouth after three weeks wanting to come home.  Not knowing how to react the parents said, “If you’re not happy, come on home.”  The school’s challenges go well beyond academics.

The academics are rigorous and demanding.  All students wear a simple uniform; all students take the same academically tracked study program.  Class times are an extended 95 minutes; the school day lasts till 4:00 PM with after school activities later; and the school year is 198 days, compared with 180 for most public schools.   Students begin with Advanced Placement classes in 9th or 10th grade, and there is a heavy AP load throughout their time at the school.  Unlike most California public schools all students taking AP classes are expected to sit for the AP exams.  This can be daunting.

The results are dramatic.  94% of the students are admitted to college but only 86% enroll, though this compares with the California average of 35%.  Money is the biggest impediment to college attendance, especially for children from “undocumented” families.  Many students, who are admitted, are unable to afford college costs and are forced to forego the opportunity toward which they have worked so hard during their high school years.

 Just 175 days of the 198 days are funded.  The school has offset budget cuts by admitting more students and increasing average class size.  The teachers, too, have had to forego salary increases and step adjustments.

In a restless quest for the needed funding, the school has an active fundraising program.  Those who would like to support the school can attend Celebrating the Preuss Promise—Bridge to the Future, a benefit celebration set for Friday, April 16 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.  For more information on tickets or sponsorships, please contact Maryann Lapthorn at (858) 534-1404 or   


Works in Progress

Works-in-Progress met in March to review a video developed by Judy Ramirez for her website, Ms. Ramirez commented on how helpful the comments she received were.  People with projects for presentation should contact Cathy Blecki by email (or phone: 760-603-8930).

Colloquy Café

The next Colloquy Café, on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM, will be on the subject: Motivation. Those who are interested in attending can contact Sam Gusman at   


The Literary Group will meet on March 29, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at Cathy Blecki’s home.  Marcus Klein will lead a discussion of selected short stories of Franz Kafka.

Science (aka Brain Study Group)

The Science (aka Brain) Group will return to its usual Friday meeting date and will continue with "Gentle Bridges” (Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of the Mind) edited by J. W. Hayward and F.  J.  Varela.  This is the first in the series of conferences held by the Dalai Lama on "Mind and Life".  The Science Group will meet on Friday, April 9, 2010, at 3 pm  at Bea Rose’s home.  Visitors are welcome.  For further information, please call Bea Rose (858) 458-9263. 


National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS) News

Recently NCIS, National Coalition of Independent Scholars, has moved toward a greater web presence.  They upgraded their website and created Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages.  Now they would like to know how their own and affiliate members use social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook both in their scholarship and in staying connected with other scholars.  If you would like to answer their questions and help them improve their communication, you are invited to take a short, 11-question, confidential survey.  Go to­tools/­surveys/6099/.  

From the President

We see April and hear her evidence of summer's approach.  Birds go wild harvesting early fruit and warble their exuberance for all to hear.  Blossoms erupt with indecent abandon throughout canyons and fields.  And baseball – yes, that perennial pastime designed to break hearts.  Even the proud sun hangs around a little longer each day to check out progress on the diamond.

And so we polish our diamonds: harvesting insights and discoveries, challenging ourselves with erupting branches of research.  After hard work we linger with abandon in the lengthening sunlight to enjoy the blossoming fruits of our labors.  On April 17, at our general meeting, we'll hear our own Delina Halushka speak of the harvest she reaps from her scholarship.  Be sure to join us.

-- Donna Boyle, March, 2009


May Meeting

The May business meeting is closed to the public.

Saturday, May 15, 2010.



About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Donna Boyle,


Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Jack Cumming, the Notebook editor: or by mail to 2855 Carlsbad Blvd N116, Carlsbad, CA 92008. The deadline for submissions is the 25th of the month prior to publication date.

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